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K-State Today

March 21, 2016

K-State Cancer Fighters to host HPV research presentation March 22

Submitted by Marcia Locke

The K-State Cancer Fighters student organization invites the campus community to its next meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 22, at 161 Seaton Hall, to hear a presentation from Nick Wallace, biology, who studies HPV biology to improve treatment for the cancers caused by these viruses.

The K-State Cancer Fighters are dedicated to raising awareness of cancer, risk reduction and K-State cancer research. Members serve as ambassadors, volunteers and fundraisers for K-State's Johnson Cancer Research Center. All students interested in making a difference in the fight against cancer, no matter their field of study, are encouraged to join.

Wallace's team studies viruses that cause cancer, namely human papillomaviruses or HPVs, which can be very deadly. According to Wallace, these viruses are not alive like the cells in our body. HPVs lack the ability to make the proteins required for their own life cycle. Instead, they convert infected cells into factories producing viral progeny. This transformation includes the uncontrolled and rapid growth associated with cancer. Typically, HPV infections are quickly cleared by our immune system, but if the virus escapes the immune system, a tumor will form. Wallace's team hopes to reduce the suffering caused by these viruses by learning how HPV proteins manipulate cells and using that knowledge to determine which cancers are caused by HPV infections and predict effective treatments for HPV-caused tumors.

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